back to article Moto 360: Neat gizmo – if you're a rich nerd

Youtube Video I used to have wearable connected technology, back in the day, and it was actually very handy. You wore it around the neck on a lanyard. It would beep when there was an incoming message or phone call or diary appointment, and it could go two to three days or more between charges. You could also make calls by …

  1. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Google Google Google

    Lots of mention of Google in the article, but I thought Motorola was part of Levono now?

    1. lurker

      Re: Google Google Google

      No idea where you got that idea from. The mobile phone part of motorola was spun off and sold to google, and the remainder, which is basically telecoms infrastructure went it's own way. It's definitely they 'googly' bit of motorola which is knocking out this watchphonething.

      1. DrXym Silver badge

        Re: Google Google Google

        Google bought Motorola Mobility for its patents. They're currently in the process of offloading the stuff they didn't want onto Lenovo which is looking for a way into the mobile market.

    2. dotdavid

      Re: Google Google Google

      Motorola was indeed sold to Google who then sold it on to Lenovo.

      But the Moto 360 runs Android Wear, a Google O/S.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Google Google Google

        If the Moto 360 looks different and better then it's thanks to Motorola's customisations, and Motorola's part of Lenovo (oops, slight spelling mistake in the post above) now. So I'm not sure why Google's getting the praise in the article. That was my point.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Google Google Google

          Someone might have shares in Google so they wish to create more Google screen scraper triggering Google searches to put up shares in Google?

  2. TwistUrCapBack

    just me ??

    I quite like the idea of being able to read a text by simply looking at my wrist ..

    But I`m not going to pay 2 ton for that privilege

    1. DropBear Silver badge

      Re: just me ??

      That's what I'd use it for too - to see caller ID on incoming calls / silence the ring / reject the call, see subject and sender for mail, read an SMS scrolling by, and making sure I know about missed calls / messages (right now there's no way for me to know whether I missed anything unless I pull my phone and wake it up - and frankly, getting my phone out of its belt-worn holder is generally way, way more hassle than glancing at my wrist...). Granted, it would have to last at least a week for me to get interested - but that would be easily achievable with Bluetooth LE and an e-paper display.

      1. DrXym Silver badge

        Re: just me ??

        E-ink is always on but it still consumes power to change the display. The likes of the pebble watch try to minimize updates to reduce power consumption. e.g. one watch face only shows an approximate time. Personally I'd like to see mirasol appear in watches so at least the display is in colour. But no smart watch gets anywhere close to the power consumption of an LCD.

        Maybe a kinetic / solar face combined with e-ink or mirasol would be enough for a watch to provide timekeeping functionality even when it doesn't have enough power to do anything more.

        1. Law

          Re: just me ??

          "E-ink is always on but it still consumes power to change the display. The likes of the pebble watch try to minimize updates to reduce power consumption. e.g. one watch face only shows an approximate time. "

          Pebble doesn't use e-ink - they call it e-paper.

          "But no smart watch gets anywhere close to the power consumption of an LCD."

          And what they call e-paper is just an LCD from Sharp...

          Apparently it's a:

          144×168 pixel Sharp Memory LCD "e-paper"

          Found that out when I was going to order the Pebble Steel earlier in the year so decided to wait it out until the market matured a bit or they upped the resolution of the e-paper display.

        2. cambsukguy

          Re: just me ??

          Or there could be a small area set aside with an LCD just to display the time, the right time, all the time.

      2. cambsukguy

        Re: just me ??

        Get a phone with a glance screen - shows what you have missed when you pull it out of your pocket - without the need to turn the display on. Usefully displays the time too in case you aren't wearing a watch, smart or otherwise.

        Available with many (but not all) Lumias - don't know if Android has it - not that I have seen though.

        1. Law

          Re: just me ??

          "Available with many (but not all) Lumias - don't know if Android has it - not that I have seen though."

          Moto X has active display, that is very similar to glance. There's an app in the play store that will replicate it by replacing the lock screen on any android - you need the right display type for it to not waste your battery though.

          I use glance on my 1020 - it's a nice feature, I'd just like a few more configuration options.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: just me ??

        Yes. It's definitely just you that carries their phone on a belt-worn holder. Yikes.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: just me ??

          Nope, there're two of us - I just find a belt clip more practical. The phone doesn't fall out of my top pocket when I bend over, doesn't get scratched by my keys/change in my pocket, doesn't get sat on in my back pocket, and I don't have to constantly move it from place to place to prevent any of the above! It just sits there securely within easy reach. Perfect!

        2. IsJustabloke

          Re: just me ?? re Yes. It's definitely just you that carries their phone on a belt-worn holder

          and Moss

    2. Richard Jones 1

      Re: just me ??

      Each to their own, I do not like texts, they take too long to create and far too long to read and who knows when, or if they have arrived? They demand whole attention, if only for a few seconds and the use of hands as well as eyes. But a voice call to the earpiece gives two way near instant contact, everything done in a very few words. Life can continue without disruption hand and eyes can continue their appointed tasks, whether it is dog walking, shopping, walking, painting or anything (everything?) else.

      Oh and I still use a Nokia 6230i with a bluetooth headset as it simply does what I need better than anything else I have so far found - and it fits in my inside pocket where it can stay all day long, never needing to be looked at. The new touch toy I was sent sits in my desk tidy where it has been for the last 18 months useless, all new 'features' and no usability.

      However, if your usage and needs patterns find something else useful, good luck to you; it is all about choice as long as I can have my ideal tool so can you. But please don't tell me a watch is smart, mine tells me the date and time, that is smart enough!

    3. ThomH Silver badge

      Re: just me ??

      It'd certainly be a more discreet way to check things — in meetings, in the pub, etc. Maybe we'll all be walking around like ex-smokers in a few years, completely lost for anything to do with our hands?

      But the battery life just isn't acceptable. I wear a Basis, one of the fitness watches, and its battery lasts four or five days. That's already short enough to be a major hassle. Charging every day, or even several times a day as other reviews of the Moto have alleged, just isn't convenient. Wearing a watch in those circumstances quickly demotes itself back to being more bother than it's worth. If it's not on enough to be habit-forming then what's the point?

      1. Andy Gates

        Re: just me ??

        " the battery life just isn't acceptable. I wear a Basis, one of the fitness watches, and its battery lasts four or five days. That's already short enough to be a major hassle. "

        Charging when you've noticed that it's run out of charge and gah, you wanted to go for a run -- that's a hassle.

        Charging every day is ritual, and if it's easy enough (no connectors), it'll be ignored.

    4. Van

      Re: just me ??

      Many people wont but they'll stay tight lipped until this tech evolves into something we can't do without/completely replaces the smart phone.

  3. envmod

    siri et al

    does anybody here use siri/cortana/whatever else regularly? i do not know, and have never met anybody who uses it. sure, when you first get a phone with speech input you ask it a couple of "silly" questions, if you're lucky, you might get a "silly" answer in return, and you think "ooh, that's funny", promptly forget about it and never use the speech input again. nobody wants to talk to their phones/watches/tvs etc - you look like a twat. i've seen a couple of people with a samsung go-go-gadget-gear watch and you know what i thought?

    "twat".

    stop trying to make us looks like twats various technology companies!

    1. James Micallef Silver badge

      Re: siri et al

      That's been my experience. Disclaimer - never tried Siri, but both Google/Android and Blackberry voice recognition seem to understand me around 50% of the time in normal speech and maybe closer to 75-80% with very careful choice of word pattern and enunciation. Either way, it's not yet good enough to significantly improve the useability

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: siri et al

      Happily been using the Google voice search part of my S3 for years now.

      I tend to just use it for simple things.

      "Do I need an umbrella?"

      "Navigate to Bradford on Avon"

      and Google searching

      "How does knitting work?"

      Since even with Swype it's faster than my fat finger swipping.

      I'd say I get a 90% success rate with it.

      The Samsung version is no where near as good though.

      That said I only tend to use it in quiet locations as otherwise I end up wanting to throw the thing out the window.

      1. JDX Gold badge

        Re: siri et al

        I use the simple voice commands on my Lumia 1020 for "call XXX, mobile" or "call 0192 ... 444" which are handy when walking.

        My wife uses Siri a lot for setting reminders, and it genuinely seems to serve a purpose here. Very reliable it appears.

      2. R 11

        Re: siri et al

        I use it all the time too. My kid asks a question that you'd normally look up with a search - how much does a blue whale eat in a day, how many rooms are in Buckingham Palace, etc.? Or I'm in the car and need to send a text message, or make a call or navigate somewhere new. All of these I can do quickly and reliably without touching my phone. And all that with a Scottish accent, it's pretty remarkable.

        1. Khaptain Silver badge

          Re: siri et al

          You obviously dont suffer from the same problems as these two

          Eleven

          As a Scotman myself I have gone through the evils of trying to configure/train DragonSeaking to my accent many moons ago.... It was a very frustrating affair. And I consider myself as having a very easy to understand accent due to the fact that I have lived outside of Scotland for almost 30 years and was obliged to improve my diction in order to become understood ....

          I don't like speaking to Google as I have no idea what twisted usage they might eventually make out of my recorded voice... ( Tinfoil hat for me please)

          1. R 11

            Re: siri et al

            The Burnistoun sketch is hilarious and was the first thing I thought of when Google launched the speech recognition. Thankfully it has few of these problems, unlike most the commercial speech recognition implementations I encounter when phoning companies in the US. That's all the more remarkable given the much broader range of speech Google is required to detect.

            What is really nice is the contextual correction, so if you speak a street name that sounds like, say Grand St. but then say in Nashville TN which only has a Grant St., Google will spot that and correct it to Grant St. automagically. (The example is made up, but I've seen it do this many times).

            Obviously it's up to you whether or not you speak to Google, though if you ever call me and I don't answer, don't bother leaving a message. Google Voice will be recording and transcribing it for me.

        2. Joe 48

          Re: siri et al

          I agree. I personally never use it but my daughter asks siri to do everything. Odd how a child who's new to tech (She's 6) uses this method rather than typing. Now in part thats due to the fact she isn't the best at spelling (Just like her Dad) but she choses it as Kids tend to find the simplest way to do things. To me this means Siri (Or Google Voice) are simple, its just us oldun's who feel like idiots using it, thus we choose not to.

          As for the watch. I'll give this one a look. Unsure yet if I'll jump in but certainly the best looking and I still don't care about charging every day as I have to charge my phone that often. still don't get why people get so hung up on the daily charge!

          1. ian 22

            Re: siri et al

            You must learn Klingon. I've found Klingon is 100% compatible with Siri AND whatever the other "voice recognition" system is called.

            One major problem is translating between Klingon and English. "Release" is most closely translated as "software has battled its way to tactical supremacy". Etc. Perhaps not the most convenient use of voice recog.

            1. Yugguy

              Re: siri et al

              If you want comedy voice recognition get a TomTom GO.

              The wake-up phrase for it to start voice recognition is "Hey TomTom"

              MASSIVE problems across the board, large numbers of users, with it waking up to any and every other sound it heard.

              I found it liked ACDC and Tool.

  4. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    Medical?

    I was reading an article earlier about the Tricorder X Prize (medical wizardry) - and all of the competitors say that body contact is needed to make any meaningful personal medical detector (paired with a smartphone)

    Maybe that will be the killer (sorry, lifesaver) app for wearables?

  5. malle-herbert
    Thumb Down

    Tamawatchi ?

    One that you can wear around your wrist and have to recharge every 24 hours or else it dies ? No thanks...

  6. John Robson Silver badge

    Navigation...

    When I'm riding, something that notifies me of upcoming turns, and that I can have a decent look at (i.e. not on the bars, a long way away and inevitably pointed to optimise sky reflections) would be useful.

    Would it be £200? Maybe - if it did HR measurements from the wrist, and could pair with ANT+/BT sensors for other "sports" information then there could be a market. But the thing has to do this independently - it needs to not rely on a phone.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Navigation...

      You don't take your phone with you when you go out on your bike?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Navigation...

      I believe it does all the stuff the £150 fitbits do, (something this article fails to mention), so it's actually a pretty good buy at £200.

      I actually prefer the look of the new Sony Smartwatch3, and am considering picking on up, as there is some nifty cycling apps, and a neat ski navi/tacho that I am keen to try. Being able to hide my phone away in my ski jacket and control the phone from my watch would work well.

      So, I think there is alot more than just changing watchfaces to this.

      It's also worth seeing what AndroidWear 2.0 brings (all current AndroidWear watches are getting the update soon).

      http://www.androidpolice.com/2014/09/04/source-android-wear-2-0-will-be-released-on-october-15th/

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh, I remember Motorola

    They're the guys I swore (twice, ~5 years apart) that I'd never ever ever buy anything of theirs again

  8. Darren B 1

    Not enough time

    A watch needs to tells me the time, additional information is fine but it's primary role is a time piece and I am quite happy that I only need to change the battery every 2 years or so. I don't understand why I would want a watch that might run out of juice on a daily basis on my way home from work especially when I am trying to catch the right train.

    1. Neill Mitchell

      Re: Not enough time

      I agree. It's bad enough my phone is no longer a phone.

      Last weekend I went out for the day with my kids, phone fully charged. 5 hours later I go to check the traffic for the journey home and the battery is at 3% and the phone shuts down. Some shitty piece of NoQAware (tm) has gone rogue and hammered a 3200mAh battery down to unusable. Nothing in the Android OS prevented it from doing this or killed all non essential processes when the battery got down to, say 15%.

      Result is if I'd had an accident or broken down on the way home I would have been been screwed.

      Bring back Symbian+QT, we really miss you.

      So, as your nice example illustrates, you'll now also have a watch you can't rely on to tell you the bloody time.

      1. Gavin Berry

        Re: Not enough time

        My HTC Max has a feature just for that, at 15% (or higher if I want) it goes into lockdown and shuts down all but the "being a phone" and texts options, has saved the day many times.

        1. Neill Mitchell

          Re: Not enough time

          My Samsung does as well, but it only does obvious things like dim the screen, shut down wifi and mobile data to stop apps chattering back to base etc.

          What it will not do and I suspect your HTC will be the same unfortunately, is kill off any rogue/crapware processes that are hammering the battery. Also, since 4.3+ Google have made it almost impossible to kill off certain system apps like Google+. They want to know where you are and what you are doing 24x7. So if one of those goes nuts (and Google+ does frequently) it will just hammer the battery. Even Greenify can't stop it.

          Don't even get me started on the bloody media scanner that blindly scans your entire 64GB SD card for hours with no way of excluding folders. This particular piece of junk has battered my battery on numerous occasions :(

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I have this watch.

    I tells me time and - lo and behold - the date (although it thinks every month has 31 dags and I need to help it along every so-often). It doesn't need recharging. All I have to do is wear it. It has a built in energy accumulation device (commonly known as a spring) so it keeps running for a day or two if I take it off.

    Every 7 years I have to take it down to the watch shop, where it is sent along to the manufacturer to be relubed and cleaned up. It comes back after 3 days looking brand new, and I'm set for the next 7 years.

    When I get a phone call my phone rings and vibrates, wherupon I decide to take the call or not.

    Where exactly does this newfangled gizmo I have to hook up to a charger every day fit in ?

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: I have this watch.

      The obvious thing is that you don't have to stop what you're doing and wrestle your over-large phone out of your pocket to see if it's a call you want/need to take.

      1. cambsukguy

        Re: I have this watch.

        Thing is - I take all my calls. If I got spam calls (or texts - I get none basically, use the TPS) I would add them to the built-in call blocking system, my list is empty.

        I have read that people take their phone out of their pocket 75 times a day just to check if they have missed anything - have a text etc. (which is why Lumia Glance saves so much battery I suppose).

        Since removing the phone from a pocket appears to be so little hassle (for most people most of the time) that they do it for no obvious reason - then the use case for the watch seems smaller.

        I suppose if it could be charged enough kinetically to keep going on standby indefinitely, it would become far more useful - but the amount of power they use is just too much for that I think.

        1. JDX Gold badge

          Re: I have this watch.

          Lots of people do screen calls though, or only take work calls during the day, yada yada. Clearly not everyone, but enough that this kind of use-case exists.

          Of course that's a bit like having an old-school pager all over again but shush, this is new and exciting!

          1. billdehaan

            Re: I have this watch.

            Actually, that's almost exactly how I view my Pebble - as a pager that happens to sit on my wrist.

            The Pebble is a good watch, it gives me alerts on SMS, emails, and phone calls, silently, so I *don't* have to pull out my phone to see what that buzz/beep was. It also includes pedestrian watchlike things like a countdown timer and a stopwatch, but that's about it.

            And that's about all I want it to do. I don't want a complicated superdevice on my wrist; I want a watch that, like my old watches, has alarms. It's just that the alarm function includes phone calls, and text messages/emails.

            It's not for everyone. There are people complain that it doesn't do enough, and there are people who complain it does too much. But I'd rather have an unassuming device that does a few functions well, rather than one that has a hundred functions I can't remember.

            It reminds me a lot of my old Palm Pilot. While WinCE devices and other PDAs were trying to put computers into people's hands (at a time when the tech really didn't support that), the Pilot was really just a battery-powered Franklin Daytimer, and it took off because of that.

            From what I've seen of most of the competing smartwatches, they show promise, but they are definitely works in progress.

        2. Yugguy

          Re: I have this watch.

          "I have read that people take their phone out of their pocket 75 times a day just to check if they have missed anything - have a text etc. (which is why Lumia Glance saves so much battery I suppose)."

          This is my issue with a lot of this new technology - it stops being an enabler and becomes a dependency.

          If you can't face a minute of your life without checking bloody facebook then it's a sad state of affairs.

          I will only adopt if it gives me something that I haven't got now, but ALSO does not require me to change my life around it.

  10. Jah

    Tech reviewers are not "normal people"

    I've had the Gear 1 and Sony Smartwatch 2 (as well as the very old Sony Ericsson MBW 100 in 2006) so feel I have road tested these devices. I have two phones - one for business and one for personal. My business phone is in-hand and visible during my work day so the notifications to my smartwatch from my personal phone are actually very "handy". Also I can quickly see who is calling and reject calls and reply to sms quickly if in a meeting (no need to find the phone and then enter a PIN etc). So the use depends in your situation - it is not a "silver" bullet to deal with all your digital management issues, it is an add-on for some people for connivence. Yes the suppliers would want you to think if you don't have one you are missing out on something wonderful...you're not.

  11. Dave 126 Silver badge

    Features Vs [Power consumption and form factor]

    Most of the speculation has been seemingly prompted by Apple iWatch rumours, and given substance by efforts from Samsung, LG, Motorola and - pre-dating the current smartwatch buzz - Sony. Samsung have taken the 'everything but the kitchen sink' approach, as have the other traditional phone handset makers with their watch efforts. However, not much is said about the existing Bluetooth LE watches that occupy another point on the features against power consumption graph.

    Casio (G-Shock BLE) and Citizen (Proximity) make such watches, which give phone notifications, and allow you to 'page' your phone. Reviews suggest the concept (minimal 'connected' features in a traditional-looking watch with good battery life) is sound, but the implementations are not satisfactory (random breaking of the Bluetooth connection etc).

    The other element in the mix are the type of device that some people have used for years - fitness trackers and heart rate monitors etc.

    None of the above devices require a smartphone-class SoC or a colour display (The Moto 360 is criticised for using an OMAP3 SoC that is believed to be built on a 48nm process). Indeed, the Citizen Proximity watch uses only physical dials to show calls, SMS and email notifications.

    The original iPhone was notable for what it left out (contemporary rival handsets had 3G cellular, copy and paste, 3rd party applications) as much for its multitouch UI... this might prove to be a good approach with watches.

    1. dotdavid

      Re: Features Vs [Power consumption and form factor]

      "The Moto 360 is criticised for using an OMAP3 SoC that is believed to be built on a 48nm process"

      I think most of the criticism for using such an old SoC (think Nexus One) is that more modern SoCs are much more power efficient and snappier. According to Ars Technica there is some lag swiping around the Moto 360's interface and the battery lasts half as long as the Samsung and LG Android Wear devices.

  12. Bassey

    Sports Tracking

    It isn't a mainstream use, I'll grant you, but I had the 2nd Gen Sony Smartwatch (the new wear-based, despite being called No.3, is actually the 4th Gen) and found it useful whilst out training. I do ultra-distance races so, when training, I'm out for several hours at a time. My phone sits in a backpack well out of the way. My smartwatch allows me to see how far I've gone, what direction the next checkpoint is, keep an eye on whether or not anyone (important) is trying to get in contact with me, dismiss/delete the crap etc. With just a phone, all of this required me to keep the phone in some kind of belt pouch (and belt pouch sizes are not keeping up with smartphone sizes so that was becoming tricky in itself) and keep pulling it out, unlocking it and checking it. Okay, not a big deal but I'd occasionally drop it or trip over and sweaty hands/rain tend to make the screen unusable plus, until I got a Z1 Compact, none of my phones have been waterproof so I was always afraid of borking them. The watch certainly wasn't indispensable but it made a few tasks a lot easier and was well worth the £75 it cost.

    However, after the first week or two's novelty wore off, it ONLY got used for training. It certainly wasn't a daily watch replacement. I can see the new ones being of use for people who have opted for a Phablet and carry it with them in a bag, though.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A few uses for a 'smartwatch' off the top of my head.

    * Allows you to check notifications, sms, e-mails, meeting requests without removing your phone from your pocket

    - - - Reduces the chance of you getting mugged just outside the Tube station while looking at your phone

    - - - Extends battery life on phone as you don't have the display on as long

    * Allows you to navigate on foot to a location without holding you phone in front of you with just a quick glance on each street corner

    - - - Reduces the chance of you getting mugged wandering around with your phone

    - - - More conveientent that holding your phone or pulling it out of your pocket all the time

    * Allows you to glance at information when in inconvenient locations

    - - - Can quickly read current Grid Ref while in the rain and wind on a mountain while your phone is safely tucked away under a couple of layars of clothing

    - - - Can easily see a GPD bearing to your next waypoint when in the situation above

    * If you're wearing a watch anyway, especially if it is a sports watch, it allows you to update it and add more functions, displays to it

    - - - Add your own apps to do functions that you would like your watch to have

    * Can alert you if you leave your phone behind

    - - - Saves you losing your phone

    * Can change music, skip tracks etc without having to get your phone out

    - - - Reduces the chance of you getting mugged for your phone

    * Watch is waterproof, phone maybe not

    - - - Can use when you are in a wet environment

    Etc

    However, that battery life, for a watch could be a real pain.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
      WTF?

      Eh?

      Quote

      Reduces the chance of you getting mugged for your phone

      Really?

      won't the muggers see this fancy bit of kit on your wrist and think, 'hey this idiot has probably got an expensive phone on them. Lets have both devices while we are at it?'

      IMHO, these things are (at the moment) an answer waiting for a question - Much like the Internet of Things.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Eh?

        All of AC's example use cases are valid... and none of them require a power-hungry colour screen.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Eh?

        Most phones are snatched out of the hands of users (i.e. outside a tube station). It is a lot rarer to actually hold someone up with a knife/gun and steal their possessions - especially when there's lots of people standing around next to you.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      RE: "Reduces the chance of you getting mugged just outside the Tube station while looking at your phone"

      I avoid that by avoiding London.

    3. BigAndos

      Some good ideas in that list, I'd also like it if it had a vibrating alarm. Me and my mrs often get up at different times so it'd be good if it could wake you up without any noise.

  14. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Kill the beast...

    Maybe the Tamagotchi will be reborn and save the day?

    No - just no. Please, don't even go there.

  15. Concrete Gannet

    How about a watch that has the correct time?

    I think it is insane that the time is instantly available to phones, Wifi access points and so on, and yet I have to adjust my *watch* by hand. In my part of the world, we don't have low frequency radio time signals, so a so-called "atomic" watch isn't an option.

    The killer app for a smartwatch is that it will have the correct time, automatically.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: How about a watch that has the correct time?

      Adjusting the time on a quartz watch is an infrequent chore, since they will only lose or gain a second or two per month. Frequent travellers might appreciate an automatic time-zone adjustment feature, though.

    2. lurker

      Re: How about a watch that has the correct time?

      Yes but if we're viewing it as a pure chronology device, I'd prefer a watch which never needs recharging but occasionally needs to be set, to one which has to get juiced up every 24 hours but never needs setting.

      1. petur

        Re: How about a watch that has the correct time?

        My Casio never needs manual charging (solar) and never needs time setting (DCF-77). Win-win ;)

    3. James Micallef Silver badge

      Re: How about a watch that has the correct time?

      "The killer app for a smartwatch is that it will have the correct time, automatically"

      How often is it that having correct to-the-second time on your watch is of vital importance? The only reason I can think is train timetables, and even then (a) you can sync your watch with the station clock, it will stay synced for a few months at least unless your watch is REALLY crappy and (b) how often are the trains on time anyway??

    4. Anonymous IV

      Re: How about a watch that has the correct time?

      "The killer app for a smartwatch is that it will have the correct time, automatically."

      You mean like Network Time Protocol, available from a whole bunch of Time Servers in each country?

    5. Samuel Penn

      Re: How about a watch that has the correct time?

      Mine does. Automatically syncs with some atomic clock at Rugby every night via whatever radio signals that is sending out. It's also solar powered, with a twenty year life expectency on the battery. I haven't had to 'charge' it for 10 years so far.

    6. cambsukguy

      Re: How about a watch that has the correct time?

      It is not a killer app because a huge proportion of the possible buyers DO have the low frequency signal for an atomic watch Europe (a lot of it anyway), the USA, Japan and possibly other places.

      FWIW, my sports watch gains maybe 5s a month, reliably. Since I can nudge the seconds forward (and backwards if it were required) I simply bump it a few seconds every so often. The result is that is it usually correct within a few seconds - even the radio pips aren't that good anymore (coz I use DAB).

      Always wondered why they don't let you program the average gain/loss on such watches so that the time stays almost bang on most of the time.

      I did it on a pager many moons ago, it did it daily using a value the factory programmed. Because the clock was truly awful - it made all the difference.

      (For those who care - they used the frequency error measured for a known frequency audibly generated to determine the value).

  16. Sir Barry

    I always said cameras and the internet on mobile phones would never catch on.

    I'll say the same about these new fangled watch thingies, give it a year and they'll be forgotten.

    Now watch some smartarse produce something indispensable that everybody really needs...

  17. Robert E A Harvey
    Unhappy

    Nope.

    Spot on. People desperate to sell you something, but no idea what. Yawn.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just needs

    One of those vibrating motors with a decent size weight, slow spin and ten minutes of battery life and the real users will come flocking.

    1. Tim Jenkins

      Re: Just needs

      Ah; attach a bit of sponge and use it to polish the car, you mean?

  19. Philanthropic Philanderer

    No pictures?

  20. Tom 38 Silver badge

    I can think of one use (a whole 1!): Exercise. If you want to listen to your tunes as you go jogging, you've got several options currently: waistband (eurgh), in your pocket (eurgh + broken phone when it eventually falls out), in your backpack (eurgh) or strapped on to your arm¹ like you are some kind of cyborg (actually, I kind of fancy being some kind of cyborg).

    A touch sensitive watch that beams my cheesy 90s eurodance to my headphones would be dead neat. Plus, it would actually be in a place that you can look at and touch, so you don't look like a wally trying to prod your arm because you've somehow put "Scooter" on repeat.

    Not sure it is £200 worth of dead neat though.

    ¹ Interestingly, I was going for the anatomically pedantically correct definition of the "upper arm" (this is The Register after all). Turns out it is "arm" - the bit below the elbow apparently is not part of your arm, but your "forearm". Who knew?

  21. PhilipN Silver badge

    Talking is over-rated

    The vast majority of "phone" usage I see on the streets (i.e. everywhere) is NOT for phone calls.

    Thank heavens the unadorned mobile phone is on its way out and we can get on a do useful things without having to engage with other creatures artlessly called homo sapiens sapiens using a strange and inconvenient part of the physique called a tongue. Let's face it if you were commissioned to invent a means of communications between people you would never in a million years come up with the ridiculous one we have traditionally used. Crikey we cannot even use it without an enormous range of facial and hand gestures, postures etc etc.

    Frankly nothing would make me happier than if I could find a job where I never have to talk to anyone, but that is a different point.

    1. Zot

      Re: Talking is over-rated

      I see an increasing amount of vocal mobile use these days.

      Usually people talking into a headphone wire bead, walking along on their own talking and waving their hands about like some kind of demented inflatable.

  22. waynep

    I have impaired working memory and Google Now has become an essential tool, one of these smartwatches could be, quite literally, life changing for me.

  23. RustyNailed
    Stop

    Like anything depends on your personal use cases, or lack of them.

    I have lots of 'little' use cases which combined make a smart watch a device to seriously consider, assuming it ticks the right boxes, which most of the announced ones seem to. As long as it gives a days good use use, having it charge overnight is not a big deal for me.

    Several little use cases:

    * Auto unlocking based on smart watch / phone proximity. I mainly have a PIN on my phone to provide some protection should I leave the phone somewhere, but that gets annoying if it's on my desk at home or work, when I'm there too.

    * Heart rate monitoring for my treadmill. My old Polar chest band has given up the ghost, so I need a new one. The old one sync'd directly with my treadmill, and a smart watch based one (assuming its reasonably accurate) will be more flexible.

    * Directions when cycling / walking without having to hold a phone or get a bike mount. Particularly in winter when it gets to minus double figures regularly.

    * I'm hoping the electronic ticketing app I use for public transport will (eventually) push tickets to the smart watch, meaning less arsing around in winter to show a ticket every time I get on a bus.

    * Real time public transport updates without having to arse around getting my phone out, especially in winter.

    * Being able to 'screen' messages quickly to determine if I need to respond before arsing around getting my phone out, particularly in winter.

    * Being able to find out the time (since I don't currently wear a watch) without arsing around getting my phone out, particularly in winter.

    (For the record, during winter here the temperature regularly drops into minus double figures, making gloves mandatory, which makes smartphone interactions 'fun')

    There might be no one 'killer' app, but why does there have to be? For me, solving a number of small issues that bug me almost daily makes a smart watch which solves them attractive.

    1. Piro

      Re: Like anything depends on your personal use cases, or lack of them.

      Apparently your time is spent worrying about how bollock-chillingly cold it is.

      Do you live in Siberia? Buy some gloves.

      1. RustyNailed

        Re: Like anything depends on your personal use cases, or lack of them.

        No, I live in Berlin, where it regularly gets down to -10 and below during Winter, and I have some gloves thanks. These compound the problem since many smart phones are not wonderfully responsive to users wearing gloves. Which was the point I was making about Winter- wearing gloves actually increases the hassle involved in using a smartphone (usually*). And since I don't walk around holding my phone, some useful way of quickly determining if I need to interact with it after a notification would be nice. If a smart watch can help with that interaction, why is that a problem?

        * - I'm aware of some glove friendly devices, notably the ZenPhone 5 and 6 from Asus, not sure about others, and that adds to the things to weigh up on my next phone purchase.

    2. cambsukguy

      Re: Like anything depends on your personal use cases, or lack of them.

      It is no accident that Finland - which gets very cold too (or you are in Finland), was/is the home of Nokia and the Lumias have the screens which can be used reasonably well with gloves.

      Not the Lapland mittens but, at least the ones you wear underneath them.

      Still have to be careful but it mostly would fall in snow!

      1. RustyNailed

        Re: Like anything depends on your personal use cases, or lack of them.

        Not quite as bad as Finland or Siberia here (Berlin), but I see that Asus have added some glove friendly features to the new ZenPhone 5 and 6.

        That said, it's not just gloves, although they do compound the issue. This morning I had to show my phone to two different bus drivers, fishing it out from a pocket and unlocking it (using rather than a quicker swipe, pattern, or face unlock). Having (ideally) the ticket on a watch on my wrist, or at least having the phone automatically unlock since it's close to the watch would just improve those interactions a bit.

        Of course, that improvement might not be worth it for everyone, which is fine, and that doesn't mean it makes the tech pointless for all. For me, I see potentially many small interactions being improved, which makes it something to consider.

  24. Robert Ramsay

    Purposes

    since phones are now getting way too big, put it on vibrate and shove it up your arse?

  25. stu 4

    I'll be getting one

    or an iwatch - I'll wait till tomorrow to decide.

    I think you're missing the point.

    1. they aint watches. they are a device that fits on yer wrist - so it gets compared to a watch, and frankly would be stupid to not tell you the time. But that's hardly the point of it.

    2. For me anyway it's about custom apps, fitness apps, augmented screens, etc. I fly paramotors and paragliders and use a HUD build around a MOD Live at present running an app of my own devising that gives me all the info I need for flying on my HUD. I can see this 'watch' being useful for those kind of apps: make use of the gps, data, etc, etc on the parent device, but serve up just the basic easy to read info on the wrist app - so for example show me my alti, speed, closest airspace, wind speed, direction to home AZ, etc (as my MOD does), but far handier for more folk to wear than building a custom HUD into their helmet.

    Same goes for stuff like cycling, running, etc. hence why it has pedometer, heart rate, etc build in. You don't want to be running along, taking your 5" phone out to see all the time - but a glimpse of the 'watch' is perfect. Clearly is you 'don't see the point of gadgets for running' then you're not the market.. but it doesn't mean there isn't one.

  26. DrXym Silver badge

    Closest thing to a smart watch

    The only watch I would consider "smart" so far is the Casio G Shock. It manages to offer very simple connectivity with a phone such as incoming call, new message and a find my phone function. It does this using a very low power bluetooth protocol and it has apps for iOS and Android.

    Most of the so called "smart" watches out there are next to useless. They last a day or two on a charge and have displays which turn off to conserve power. The non time-keeping functionality is largely superficial and is bound to functionality in a phone. That IMO is not "smart" and it is IMO why these things are lame.

    We'll have to see what Apple does with it's watch but I'm not expect it to be much different. I'm sure they'll have some gimmick or angle (e.g. health monitoring) but it'll suffer the same issues as other watches regardless of the platform they're locked to.

  27. AbelSoul
    Pint

    Last orders

    Last orders is at 0xB:00

    In that case, I'll have a bottle of 0x05A Shilling please!

  28. ratfox Silver badge
    Angel

    Maybe it allows you to open the garage door…

    But does it open the pod bay door?

  29. pewpie

    I like watches tell the time..

    ..and phones that are for making and recieving calls..

    I'm weird like that.

    1. Van

      Re: I like watches tell the time..

      I like clocks on the wall for telling the time and leave my skin for regulating body temperature.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pebble Time

    to be honest, the most I use my smartwatch (Pebble) for is the following:

    1) get txt/msh alertsand be able to view them without having to take phone out of pocket

    2) see who is calling me (once again, without having to retrieve phone)

    (PS I run my phone in silent/vibrate mode - so in meetings I can see if its worth rushing out to answer or just ignore)

    3) turn by turn navigation without having to have phone out - which is handy in certain parts of the country ;-) - the watch vibrates when I need to change direction, one quick glance at my watch and i know which way to go.

    in the car the watch is pointless - I have it hooked up to the car so can see whose calling, place calls via voice, use the sat nav, change music etc etc.

    at home...i dont use my watch, the phone site on the sofa armrest ready for use.

    the pebble isnt that pricey. so its been worth it.

  31. Jim Lewis

    actual use case

    ...and while smart watches etc are still novel enough to be unrecognisable to most people I find that using mine to make my phone appear to ring when I realise I want to leave the meeting I am in very valuable!

  32. Van

    evolution

    Funny how mobile phones were allowed to evolve, but most posters here seem to want all or nothing with wearable tech.

    The wrist happens to be a convenient place to mount stuff we need in an instant or don't want to lose.

  33. Van

    "I used to have wearable connected technology, back in the day, and it was actually very handy.... It was light enough to wear at festivals .... It was a Nokia 6230i."

    "The new inconvenience is a £200 watch that you have to charge every day"

    Did you consider the phone bills in the early to mid 00's for those inane phone calls and texts on your 6230 to be good value?

    I don't agree with your assumption that wearables should do something smartphones can't. I carried Netbooks and MacBook airs around until I was reasonably happy with smartphone performance. I'm still not 100% happy, but can now hopefully watch smart watches evolve, despite these wonky reviews.

  34. tallmantim2

    I have a Samsung Gear 2

    ...and quite like it.

    The phone stays in my pocket at work, on silent. You configure which alerts you want to be interrupted by (eg. ignore Facebook pokes, but make sure you get notified it's your turn in Words With Friends during boring meetings!). The watch is set to vibrate - so it too is unobtrusive.

    The other things that I regularly use:

    * Pedometer - no real reason (as I use other fitness apps and devices for proper training - just interesting)

    * Timer (handy when cooking - so can sit down in the other room with a cake in the oven and go check without having to hear the timer)

    * Hands free - easy when I am doing something like cooking again - have it on my wrist and the phone can be elsewhere

    * Media player - handy (with 4GB storage) for running with bluetooth headphones on without carrying phone

    I can certainly live without it - but as it was just another $10/month on contract for 24 months it was priced and packaged right!

  35. This post has been deleted by its author

  36. theOtherJT

    Biggest problem I see with this (other than the annoying battery life) is that for most women, and scrawny short blokes like myself, is that it's just too damn big. It would totally dominate my wrist, be really uncomfortable to wear and look remarkably stupid.

    Once you shrink it down to the size of an ordinary watch that actually fits on my wrist there's no _point_ having a colour, touch sensitive display on it, because it's too small to put anything on except the time, and I have a watch that tells me the time already.

  37. Blacklight

    Insert obligatory Dick Tracy reference here :)

    If they made them chargeable from movement ala some 'normal' watches, and thinner I'd be interested - until then I have a very nice traditional swiss affair which shall continue to adorn my wrist :)

  38. Wize

    Am I just being picky...

    ...as I don't like it because of the black bit at the bottom of the screen. I was thinking of getting one till I saw that.

    Must make a white watch face look terrible.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I loved a fuzzy logic clock...

    Back on KDE, a couple years ago (4.5 I believe), it showed "a quarter past 5" on the 15-minute accuracy, while on the 6-hour accuracy it showed " past noon - friday". On the week accuracy it showed the lovely binary answer "weekend" or "weekday".

    Dialing back to 12 hours it would say "Day" or Night", which was back then extremely useful to me as I worked in a building with no windows whatsoever.

    I wanted that on my wristwatch. Perhaps it could literally say "Pub o'clock". The BOFH on me would get really neat ideas for this.

    I can't wait for the "make yourself scarce" time.

  40. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

    I was hopeful....

    That the Apple watch would have function enough to be a replacement (with a decent app) for either the Garmin 910xt or Suunto Ambit. Seeing as they have well and truly missed that boat I've just bought the Ambit 3 which is functionally awesome.

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